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Greek fakes, Neapolis (Macedon)


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As we still don't have a fakes section, I thought it would be helpful to post this here.

I recently posted an admittedly risky coin on this thread -


This type is very well-known for fakes yet  I fell for  it. As these coins  come up for sale very often (and are sometimes extremely attractive) I thought I should highlight the error. There is an excellent discussion of the coins here -


by an expert (Amentia) whose experience is beyond reproach. After @Nemo suggested I was mistaken in thinking  my coin somehow alright, despite these MANY examples, I spoke with Amentia who provided more than enough examples of my error. In short, it really looks like you cannot beat the system here, and to be exceptionally wary of the type, which are hand cut Bulgarian dies with a number of small variations.


I now have a very long list now of WHY these are bad, but they  include

1) A strange ratio of obverse to reverse dies, inconsistent with minting at the time, ie reverse v obv survival rates.

2) There are no proven genuine pieces of these and no connections to genuine pieces.

3) Related, the forgeries are always connected to each.

4) Centering and preservation, this may or may not be normal depending on the series (which is putting  it kindly!) and in real Neapolis hemidrachms there is often crystallized silver.

5) Apparently a lot of these Neapolis counterfeits were sold by counterfeit sellers who only had counterfeits on offer!


Since these are not casts or transfer stamp forgeries, the only thing left is forgeries of modern hand-cut stamps. Back to Magna Graecia I go, tail between  my legs.


This is my (quite lovely) fake -





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My modest example, posted on the original thread, looks a little too close for my tastes like obverse 1 from Amentia's analysis 


However, I am optimistic as it doesn;t look like a die match and my coin is crystalized and smoothed. Of course, this is not a positive proof as I know the "sister coins" from Apollonia Pontika received aggressive treatments. 

This is the part that scares me the most in ancient coins collecting - this kind of forgeries and the money we spend in vain on objects that are proven to be worthless pieces of metal. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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Very interesting, and sad if every hemidrachm from Neapolis turns out fake. 

Here's mine. I didn't see a die match with any of the posted coins. Any opinions on whether this one is real/fake?


Macedon, Neapolis
Circa 375-350 BCE
AR Hemidrachm 1.75g, 13mm, 10h
Facing gorgoneion, with tongue protruding
Head of nymph to right; [N]-E-O-[Π] around; all within incuse.
SNG Copenhagen 227-8; SNG ANS 453; HGC 3.1, 588.
Ex J. Greiff Collection

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19 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

Any opinions on whether this one is real/fake?

Well I'm the least qualified to  opine  but from the list I was given, if  it doesn't match any of those images (there's more than 1 page of them, not  just the one on the link) and is off-centre and crystallised you have a better chance!

23 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

sad if every hemidrachm from Neapolis turns out fake

It's absolutely not every coin, apologies  if  I gave that impression. Here are a number at the British Museum.


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It is good to have those old, reliable museum reference examples.

There are a few fakes in major collections from more recent acquisitions.

Fakes have even been reported to the UK Portable Antiquities Scheme to legalise them. 

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What a bummer. Sorry to read. Thanks so much for sharing the resources. I'm trying to see if mine is on there now. 

Here's mine, picked up from Savoca a bit ago that I believe to be crystallized (hopefully this means it's legit):


Macedonia, Neapolis, Hemidrachm, 424-350 BC (14 mm, 1,80 gr)

Obverse: facing gorgoneion with protruding tongue Reverse: head of the nymph of Neapolis to right, her hair coiled around her head and with a bun at the back, around Ν-Ε / Ο-Π. Purchased from Savoca June 2021

Edited by Ryro
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